Unemployed, debt-ridden undergrad becomes unemployed, debt-ridden grad student

September 11, 2010
By Lance Feinstein

Louis King took advan­tage of his $200,000 under­grad­u­ate edu­ca­tion not unlike most of his peers.

He slept through 16th-Century German Philosophy, Pre-Columbian Pottery of Andean Peru, and the Economics of Video Games.  He punc­tu­ated most weeks with keg stands and last-minute, hun­gover home­work ses­sions.  In short, Mr. King had the time of his life earn­ing a 2.9 GPA while his fam­ily spi­raled into poverty.

Exhausted, on the verge of liver fail­ure, and finally ready to buckle down for real life, Mr. King went home to Anderson, South Carolina, where he began the job search in earnest.

With his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from a top-20 uni­ver­sity in hand, he expected to quickly land a high-paying job at a large con­sult­ing firm in New York.  If worse came to worst, he’d set­tle for Atlanta or Chicago.

After sev­eral months with­out so much as an inter­view, Mr. King began to panic.

The job hunt — not unlike prostitution

“Recruiters kept telling me that classes like Introduction to Marsupial Reproduction aren’t applic­a­ble to the real-world,” he explained to Torch.  “It’s like, ‘I was in col­lege, man.  Where was I sup­posed to learn how to work?’”

Luckily, Mr. King’s col­lege advi­sor, Lucas Springmeyer, had an inge­nious solution.

“It’s sim­ple,” Mr. Springmeyer told us.

“When you have a use­less col­lege degree, $100,000 of debt, and an econ­omy that is only inter­ested in hir­ing peo­ple with actual work expe­ri­ence, you can’t just keep look­ing for a job like every­one else.  The obvi­ous answer is to go to grad­u­ate school.”

When Torch reporters ques­tioned the wis­dom of advis­ing a stu­dent to spend another $200,000 he doesn’t have on top of his family’s already-enormous debt, Mr. King defended his mentor.

“[Mr. Springmeyer] is a col­lege advi­sor,” Mr. King reit­er­ated.  “Anyone bril­liant and suc­cess­ful enough to land a glam­orous job in col­lege coun­sel­ing must give pretty good advice on life.”

Mr. King began apply­ing to grad­u­ate schools in June, and his deci­sion to pro­cras­ti­nate the tran­si­tion to real life paid off.  This September he’ll begin his Master’s in Anthropology at the University of Colorado — Boulder.

“Those com­pa­nies wouldn’t hire me because all I had to prove my worth was a use­less piece of paper,” Mr. King remarked.  “We’ll just see what they say when I have two.”

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